Synth Site: Casio: ctk 651: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.8 out of 5
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Greg Holwell a hobbyist user from Australia writes:
Price paid: AUD$499 (July 2001) including wall-wart adaptor, stand, pedal.

Similar to CTK-601/611/631 with 32 registration memories, a real pitch-bend wheel (with a convenient detent halfway up), 6 non-assignable drum pads and a very informative backlit LCD but no "free sessions". I usually play it in Fingered mode, retrieve Split/layer/sostenuto-pedal setups from registration memory and pretend I have 3 hands for a while (Split/layer doesn't work over MIDI-out though).

Most of the GM voices are reasonable - good Grand Piano and Electric Piano 1, even better (although limited to 12-note polyphony) Stereo Piano (#138) and Chorus Electric Piano (#146); Church & Reed organs, Strings 1&2, Bass+Lead and Polysynth for full-keyboard organ/synth work; good fingered & slap Basses (including a crossfade at #135) and excellent solo trumpet & alto/tenor sax. The guitars were mostly more suited to accomp than solo work, and I was disappointed with the Electric Grand, Brass Ensemble and Whistle. Some of the synth tones are good, others very cheesy .... but ANY tone can be modified and saved as a user tone (take a bass sound, add pitch-set 37 and a slow release and Voila: Disco!) - just ensure you have the batteries inserted or take a sysex bulk dump. The 50's - 70's pop/rock styles are rendered very well (now what's that song? #34 is by Deep Purple) but with the 90's dance ones - Rave and Trance excepted - I found myself involuntarily reaching for the mixer to "cut the cheese".

The manual can be hard to fathom and there are a few other traps for the unwary, like one-touch settings not restoring mixer defaults (I keep memory 0A aside for this) and the memories don't store variation. And look out when playing a melody 6th note with a held left-hand chord in Full Range Chord mode - it recognises this as a minor-7th chord unless you move the 3rd note of the root-note-low chord to the right hand or add a (dominant or major) 7th to the 5th-note-low chord inversion. Or you can turn channel 9 off via the mixer and roll-your-own-bassline with the remaining chord notes lightly held into each change (I edited voice 136 to create a fingered-bass/string crossfade).

Overall a good and very flexible attempt by Casio. But don't leave it in the sun otherwise the LCD can fade out permanently!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Feb-19-2002 at 19:15
Officer Miro a part-time user from CHILE writes:
This is not a bad keyboard, definitely great for a begginer... but 1) The sound quality is great when heard in home through the speakers, but it turns noisy in an amp or a gig... 2) I don't like it's size, is too big and fat! 3) The GM sounds are great too, but 32 User tones is not enough (The solution to keep them alive when umplugging is buying some Batteries) 4) The Sequencer sucks, it`s better to use a computer... 5) Drums sounds cool, real and warm... 6) The Bank Selector is also a great feature for playing live 7) My little sister broke the plugin-adaptor, now it became very sensible and unstable... shit!

That's it, now I use it as a MIDI Controller, it worths the price definitely, a great machine for starting...

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Oct-18-2001 at 15:44
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